Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve6123 State Route 350
Oregonia, Ohio 45054
513-932-4421 | http://fortancient.org/
Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve
High above the Little Miami River lies the largest earthen enclosure in the United States, built over 2,000 years ago by the Hopewell people and later inhabited by the Fort Ancient culture. A museum explores 15,000 years of Ohio history and prehistory and miles of trails wind through 125 acres of the earthworks and nature preserve.
On a beautiful bluff 235 feet above the Little Miami River, Fort Ancient Earthworks & Nature Preserve is the largest earthen enclosure in the United States. Explore the 18,000 feet of earthworks, built over 2,000 years ago by the Hopewell people, by visiting the museum on site and traversing the preserve’s miles of trails.
Inside the museum, exhibits illustrate the lives of Adena, Hopewell, and Fort Ancient people who lived in the Little Miami River valley from circa 1000 BCE to circa 1600 CE. Read, see, and hear about the changes in Native American life from hunting and gathering to farming through the museum’s exhibits and life-size dioramas. The Sprint Center for Learning is full of hands-on activities for all ages and young people will enjoy trying on examples of Native American clothing and handling tools used by those who lived in the area. Outside, is a reconstructed Hopewell village and garden. A self-guided tour of the grounds shares more information about the earthen enclosure and its 67 gateways, some of which align with solar and lunar events.
Notes for Travelers
A Hiking & Interpretive Trail Guide will help you enjoy the interactive stations scattered throughout the preserve to expand your understanding of the earthworks that you see. Follow the drive from the museum through the Great Gateway and start with the mile-long Earthworks Trail for two scenic overlooks and clear views of the earthworks.
Additional ResourcesLepper, Bradley T. Ohio Archaeology: An Illustrated Chronicle of Ohio’s Ancient Indian Cultures. Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer Press, 2005.
Woodward, Susan L. and Jerry N. McDonald. Indian Mounds of the Middle Ohio Valley: A Guide to Mounds and Earthworks of the Adena, Hopewell, Cole, and Fort Ancient People. Blacksburg, VA: McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company, 2002.